Cyanogen Fires 20% Employees, To Focus On App Development Only


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Cyanogen Inc., one of the most popular customer OS (based on Android) developer has reportedly fired around 20% of its workforce (around 30 of its 136 employees) in its OS development arm. The sources also mentioned that the company would now focus only on apps while moving away from custom OS development. This means that there would be no new versions of its custom OS, CyanogenMod, for any device in future.

It is not clear whether the company would move away from ‘Cyanogen Mods’ also, which is Cyanogen’s proprietary app platform for Cyanogen OS, which is a paid version of CyanogenMod for its OEM partners.

Android Police described this entire episode as follows:

“Layoffs reportedly came after a long executive retreat for the company’s leaders and were conducted with no advanced notice. Employees who were not let go were told not to show up to work today. Those who did show up were the unlucky ones: they had generic human resources meetings rather ominously added to their calendars last night. So, everyone who arrived at Cyanogen Inc. in Seattle this morning did so to lose their job (aside from those conducting the layoffs).”

It is worth noting that Cyanogen had very high ambitions of becoming the leading custom OS developer in the market, and once its CEO also said that the company plans to take Android away from Google. Cyanogen’s initial plan was to allow the OEMs to outsource the OS development to them, and move away from the headache of having to deal with OS updates and upgrades themselves.

Cyanogen also made some progress in this regard when it partnered with OnePlus. OnePlus One came loaded with Cyanogen OS but this partnership didn’t last long as the company then decided to part with OnePlus in favour of joining Micromax. Micromax’s YU brand smartphones also come with Cyanogen OS but it remains to be seen what will happen to these devices now.

Post this breakup Cyanogen really didn’t make much progress besides its partnership with Microsoft for bundling Bing, Skye, OneDrive, Office, and Outlook into the Cyanogen OS, but the company didn’t find many takers. Many OEMs also started making their own Android versions with their home-baked themes like Xiaomi’s MIUI.

The Road Ahead

The future of this immensely popular aftermarket OS developer seems blurred now, as it has decided to move away from custom OS development. Maybe the company will decide to monetize its app platform- Cyanogen Mods, or launch some entirely new apps altogether, who knows?

We will let you know when more information comes out on this. Stay tuned.

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